Whetung Ojibwa Centre
Adventures of Rabbit and Bear Paws: True Hearts
What is LOVE? Is love the respect you have for your parents, family, friends and all beings? Or is it something more? What Rabbit loves to do the most is play pranks with his brother Bear Paws on family and friends. Rabbit is the best at playing pranks on others – until he meets his equal in a young girl called Strawberry. Is it young love at first sight?
Rabbit and Bear Paws is for the young and the young at heart. This series is set in 1750’s colonized North America and features the comical adventures of two brothers, Rabbit and Bear Paws. Using Traditional Native Teachings and humour, the stories are based on THE SEVEN FIRES PROPHECIES and THE SEVEN GRANDFATHERS.
The characters are mischievous and the audience learns enjoyable life lessons from their numerous pranks and mistakes while also appreciating the unity of the Native communities and how they related to one another peacefully. Instantly recognizable and fun character art draws the reader and/or viewer smoothly into the colourful stories.
Rabbit and Bear Paws are heroes that we created to share humorous adventures based on Traditional Teachings. This allows us to carry on the teachings to the youth who wish to explore their roots, while helping to share the wisdom of the Aboriginal community with the universal audience (non-aboriginal). The Anishinabek were the middle-men of the Fur trading era. So the Anishinabek would have traveled and traded with other Nations the same goods that they traded with the French and the English. The idea is to have the family – Rabbit, Bear Paws, Clover Blossom and Grey Stone visit other communities sharing with our audiences how Native peoples worked out their differences peacefully when challenges arose. At the same time the stories show how we all learn from each other and that we need to help each other out, including the new neighbours (Europeans).
The characters will travel to different parts of the country, from coast to coast in new humorous adventures. In those adventures we will learn about the different cultures and the gifts that they contributed to modern society.
All the characters are based on Traditional Teachings. Rabbit is based on the ideas from THE SEVEN FIRES PROPHECIES. He is to be the little boy who helps to guide us to the path the ancestors have made for us. While Bear Paws is based on stories that describe Naniboozhoo and the many adventures that were created around this person.
We use The Seven Grandfathers to help create all age stories that reflect a positive message that is needed for all the people of the medicine wheel. The main characters were brothers, so the adventures would be around social experiences and everyday life events that would happen in the 18th century that are as important today as they were yesterday.
Rabbit and Bear Paws are rapidly gaining enthusiastic fans for their vibrant and entertaining images of Native Traditions and Oral History and have received an endorsement from the Patrick Madahbee, Grand Council Chief of the 39 communities of the Anishinabek Nation verifying that Rabbit and Bear Paws is “an informative and entertaining way for North Americans of all ages to learn more about First Nations history, cultures and traditions.”
Christopher Meyer is co-writer of the graphic novel series THE ADVENTURES OF RABBIT AND BEAR PAWS. Four volumes have been published since 2006, and a fifth is slated for 2011. The series has won several awards including the Gold in the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards, and the New Media Award in the 2008 ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. Volume 2, THE VOYAGEURS, was nominated for a Joe Shuster Award in 2009. Awards aside, Christopher is excited to be working on a project that promotes positive First Nations characters while educating and entertaining all age groups.
Tanya Leary is Salteaux First Nation, from Roseau River Manitoba. She is currently employed by York Region District School Board, and teaches on Georgina Island First Nation in a multi-grade primary classroom. She is an author, an artist, a mother, an outdoor adventurist, and life-long learner, just to name a few. She is dedicated to promoting First Nations culture in Education by creating curricula that is rich in content and engaging for students. Tanya has an Ad.B.Ed., her Literacy Specialist, her Special Education Specialist, Two Harvard University Certificates in Teaching Through Arts/Assessment Strategies, and Curriculum Design and Leadership. She has also won several awards for her academic performances, and has been recently nominated for a Prime Minister’s Award in Teaching Excellence. She is currently writing for Rabbit and Bear Paws, and is also working on a new Educational Resource Publication Company, Blossom House Publications. She has been part of the Rabbit and Bear Paws family since December 2009, and her favorite character is of course, Strawberry!
Chad Solomon is a member of the Henvey Inlet, First Nation. As a child, he and his family would visit with his late grandparents in the French River Ontario area. His grandfather Art Solomon, a traditional healer and justice activist would spend his time building wooden toys and playing with Chad and his siblings. Even in winter Art would go tobogganing with them. Learning from his grandfather, that no matter how old you become, you should always be young-at-heart and that laughter is the greatest medicine. This is the spirit behind the comical Adventures of Rabbit and Bear Paws series.
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